sábado, 28 de febrero de 2015

PICTURES : Inside the Beatles' childhood homes in Liverpool

Inside the Beatles' childhood homes in Liverpool (PICTURES)
By Amy Browne
25 February 2015

As Paul McCartney's chilldhood home goes under the hammer, we take a look through the keyhole at other houses where the Fab Four lived before finding fame

John Lennon as a young boy outside his childhood home of Mendips with his Aunt
John Lennon as a young boy outside his childhood home of Mendips with his Aunt

The childhood home of The Beatles legend Paul McCartney will be sold at an auction at Liverpool’s Cavern Club tomorrow night.

Bids will be taken from 7pm on 72 Western Avenue, a humble three bedroom terrace, in Speke, where Macca lived for six years from the age of four, with parents Jim and Mary.

It is said to be the first house he remembers living at and the family became well known in the area during their time there in the early 1950s, due to Mary’s career as a midwife.

The Beatles’ homes have always been a great source of interest to fans across the world, who want to see where their heroes grew up.

These pictures take you inside some of the homes that John, Paul, George and Ringo lived in before they found fame as the Fab Four.

Most famous of course are Mendips on Menlove Avenue, where John Lennon lived, and 20 Forthlin Road in Allerton, which was another of Paul McCartney's childhood homes. Both are now owned by the National Trust, and have been restored to look like the homes that Lennon and McCartney would remember.

Using photographs and eyewitness accounts, the houses have been kitted out with original fixtures and fittings and identical items of furniture.

Find out more about each house, and others belonging to the Beatles:

Mendips, Menlove Avenue

The former home of the McCartney family in Forthlin Road. Picture by Mike McCartney
The former home of the McCartney family in Forthlin Road. Picture by Mike McCartney

John Lennon moved into Mendips, which belonged to his aunt Mimi and uncle George, after his parents’ marriage broke down. Visitors who take a tour of the home are told that aunt Mimi would insist that all guests entered through the back door to "save the carpets", and George would encourage John's reading by showing him copies of the Liverpool ECHO.

It is the house where John wrote Please Please Me in his bedroom and suffered great heartache when his mother Julia was killed in a road accident just outside, in July 1958.

The creaky floorboards leading to John’s bedroom were left at the request of Yoko Ono, who donated the property to the National Trust. It is said that John would have to carefully navigate his way across the boards when sneaking home from gigs at the Cavern, so that his late night antics weren’t discovered by Aunt Mimi.

20 Forthlin Road

20 Forthlin Road, Paul McCartney's childhood home
20 Forthlin Road, Paul McCartney's childhood home

In 1955 Paul McCartney moved into the house in Speke, with mum Mary, dad Jim and brother Mike.

Jim would plant lavender in the garden and place cuttings in his ashtrays to disguise the smell of smoke.

Aged 14, Paul sat at the family piano and composed what would eventually become ‘When I’m 64’. It was also the house where John and Paul wrote ‘I Saw Her Standing There’.

But living at 20 Forthlin Road was also a time of tragedy for Paul, after Mary died of breast cancer in 1956, aged just 47.

9 Newcastle Road

John Lennon's first home on Newcastle Road, Wavertree
John Lennon's first home on Newcastle Road, Wavertree

The red-bricked terrace in Wavertree was John Lennon’s first home. He lived there with his parents and grandparents, from the day he was born on October 9, 1940, until he was around the age of five.

It is there that years later, John is said to have penned the song One After 909.

Today, the modest bay fronted home, comprises two lounges, a kitchen, three bedrooms, a family bathroom and backyard. In October 2013, it sold at auction for £480,000 to an anonymous US buyer.

25 Upton Green

George Harrison's childhood home as seen from the front
George Harrison's childhood home as seen from the front

The modest three bedroom mid-terrace in Speke is where George Harrison lived from the age of six. His parents moved into the then council house, in 1949 and remained there until the early 1960s.

It was during his time at the house that George met Paul and John, and the three held some of their first rehearsals at the house, before they found fame.

Since his time there, the house has undergone a complete renovation and has a hallway, lounge, kitchen/dining room and a family sized rear garden, plus three spacious bedrooms, a bathroom and WC.

The house went under the hammer last October and was bought by Beatles fan Jackie Holmes, from north London, for £156,000.

9 Madryn Street

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr's old house, centre, in Madryn Street, Liverpool
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr's old house, centre, in Madryn Street, Liverpool

On July 7, 1940, Ringo Starr was born in the terraced property in Dingle's Welsh Streets and despite his family moving away when he was still a baby, it continues to attract Beatles fans.

It is one of hundreds in the area that were bought by the council as part of a regeneration project.

Last year, accounts showed that Ringo’s house, which was worth £60,000 in April 2013, had a value of just £525. But Cllr Ann O’Byrne, council cabinet member for housing, said the property is one of several that would be refurbished, rather than demolished, and the value would increase with the scheme.

1 Blomfield Road

Julia Lennon's house on Blomfield Road
Julia Lennon's house on Blomfield Road

Although John Lennon never lived here, he was a frequent visitor to the semi-detached on Allerton’s Springwood estate.

It was the home where John’s mum Julia lived when he was a teenager, along with her partner ‘Bobby’ Dykins and John’s sisters Julia and Jackie.

In her book, John’s sister Julia said his aunt Mimi would refer to her own home as the ‘House of Correction’ and John’s mum’s as the ‘House of Sin’. But that didn’t stop John visiting his mum at her three bedroom council house, where he would often stay over.

It was also at this house where John, aged 17, opened the door to a policeman who told him his mum had been killed in a road accident. The singer had been planning to move into the house for the summer holidays, which were just about the begin.

The star last visited the home in 1970. He and Yoko Ono drove up to it in his white Rolls Royce and were show around. The house will be sold at auction, at the Liverpool Town Hall, on March 31.

Paul McCartney's childhood home sells for more than $231,000 at auction

Sir Paul McCartney's childhood home sells for £150,000 at auction
Sir Paul McCartney's childhood home in Liverpool has sold for £150,000 at an auction in the city.
26 February 2015

Sir Paul McCartney's childhood home
Sir Paul McCartney's childhood home has been sold to a UK bidder for £150,000. Credit: Countrywide Property Auctions

The three-bedroom, mid-terrace former council house fetched £50,000 over the guide price, and was snapped up by an anonymous bidder in the UK despite international interest in the sale at the city's Cavern Club.
The former Beatle was four years old when his parents, Jim and Mary, moved into 72 Western Avenue in Speke in south Liverpool in 1947.

Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney lived at the house in Speke until he was ten years old. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/ABACAUSA.COM

The family lived at the address for six years before moving to the Allerton area of the city.

"We are delighted to have sold such an iconic piece of The Beatles and Liverpool's history."


In October 2013, John Lennon's childhood home in Newcastle Road in Wavertree sold at auction for £480,000 and last year George Harrison's former home in Upton Green in Speke fetched £156,000.

Last updated Thu 26 Feb 2015

Paul McCartney's childhood home, 72 Western Avenue, in Speke

viernes, 27 de febrero de 2015

McCartney to headline Firefly music festival in Delaware

McCartney to headline Firefly music festival in Delaware
PUBLISHED: 25 February 2015

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Organizers of the Delaware's Firefly Music Festival say former Beatle Paul McCartney will headline this year's event.
Wednesday's announcement comes a week after festival organizers announced a partial lineup led by the Kings of Leon and The Killers.
But last week's lineup didn't include McCartney, despite weeks of rumors that he would be the top draw. Organizers said at the time that they were still waiting on final approval for the third headline act.
Other acts scheduled for this year's festival include Morrissey, Snoop Dogg, Foster the People and Modest Mouse.
Attendance at Firefly has skyrocketed since the first event drew about 30,000 to the woodlands around Dover Downs International Speedway in 2012. Last year, about 80,000 fans showed up.

Paul McCartney to cap two-year tour with US festival
PUBLISHED: 25 February 2015

Paul McCartney will headline the Firefly Music Festival in the United States in June in what could be the finale to the ex-Beatle's two-year tour.

Firefly, which takes place in the woods of Delaware, has rapidly grown since 2012 as it seeks to give the US East Coast a version of a major global festival.

The festival announced Wednesday that McCartney would headline its June 18-21 edition, during which the music legend will turn 73.

Musician Paul McCartney performs in San Diego, California, on September 28, 2014
Musician Paul McCartney performs in San Diego, California, on September 28, 2014 ©Kevin Winter (Getty/AFP/File)

Unless McCartney adds additional dates, the concert would be the last of his "Out There" tour, which he opened in May 2013 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

He extended the tour to include four more dates in Japan in April, followed by a May concert in South Korea.

McCartney -- who in 2013 played Bonnaroo in Tennessee, one of the leading US festivals -- has performed a range of Beatles classics as well as newer songs on the tour.

Firefly will also feature fellow British icon Morrissey, hip-hop titan Snoop Dogg and alternative rocker The Killers.

It's official: Sir Paul to play Firefly Music Festival
Ryan Cormier, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal 
February 25, 2015

Forty days after the rumor first surfaced that former Beatle Paul McCartney would headline Firefly Music Festival, it's finally official: Sir Paul is headed to Dover, Del.

McCartney will join Kings of Leon and The Killers as the headliners of the fourth edition of the Firefly – one of the fastest growing festivals in the country.

The announcement came at noon on Wednesday, putting the final piece of the 110-act lineup puzzle in place. The rest of the 2015 roster was announced last week after more than two weeks of delays.

General admission passes for the festival, $249-$329, will go on sale March 2 at noon via www.fireflyfestival.com. VIP passes, $699-$1,999, go on sale Friday at noon.

The $1,999 "Super VIP" passes include access to artist lounges, viewing from the Firefly's main stage mix tower and stage deck viewing for select main stage shows.

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney will headline Firefly Music Festival this summer in Dover, it was announced Wednesday afternoon.
(Photo: Eric Gay/AP)

The "Super VIP" passes also include the benefits of the $699 VIP passes with VIP viewing at all stages, access to a hospitality lounge, complimentary massages, air-conditioned restrooms, VIP parking, golf cart transportation between stages and a personal concierge service.

McCartney's Out There tour, which started in 2013 and also has a string of Japan and South Korea dates scheduled for April and May, encompasses his entire career from The Beatles and Wings to his solo material.

The nearly three-hour show uses state-of-the-art technology with "massive screens, lasers, fireworks, unique video content and, of course, the best songs in the world," according the Firefly's press release announcing the McCartney booking.

Paul McCartney on the "Out There" tour in October in
Paul McCartney on the "Out There" tour in October in New Orleans. (Photo: MJ KIM/MPL Communications)

Other acts confirmed for this summer include Morrissey, Snoop Dogg, Foster the People, Zedd, Modest Mouse, Bastille, Empire of the Sun, Hozier, Cage the Elephant, Run the Jewels, Spoon, Gary Clark Jr. and Charli XCX.

The festival, which runs from June 18-22, has flourished since first opening its gates in The Woodlands near the Dover International Speedway in 2012, drawing 30,000. Last year's crowd was 80,000-strong and the festival site is large enough to accommodate 85,000.

Launched in 2012 by Chicago-based Red Frog Events, Firefly joined with Goldenvoice, creators of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, last year.

At the time of the Goldenvoice partnership, both companies predicted bigger headliners and more sponsorships as a side-effect of the collaboration.

Goldenvoice, now owned by global entertainment company AEG, previously landed McCartney for 2009's Coachella. The show had two encores, including a performance of The Beatles' Birthday.

The song would be especially appropriate at Firefly 2015 since Macca turns 73 on June 18 – the festival's opening night.

McCartney has already had a very busy 2015.

After he appeared on Kanye West's surprise Christmas Eve single Only One, he teamed up with West and Rihanna for her latest single FourFiveSeconds, which the trio performed at the Grammy Awards earlier this month.

McCartney also put on a surprise Valentine's Day concert at New York's Irving Plaza -- the night before he performed his solo hit, 1970's Maybe I'm Amazed, at Saturday Night Live's star-studded 40th anniversary program last weekend.

jueves, 26 de febrero de 2015

Paul McCartney and wife Nancy spotted skiing in Vermont

Paul McCartney dines at Vermont general store
PHILIP TORTORA, Free Press Staff Writer
February 25, 2015

The J.J. Hapgood General Store & Eatery in Peru had royalty from the music world drop by for dinner Sunday afternoon.

After spending a day on the slopes at nearby Bromley Mountain, famed musician Paul McCartney and five other people spent about an hour in the dining room enjoying a quiet meal that included margherita pizza and organic kale salad.

Restaurant owner Juliette Britton said she didn't want any hoopla to disrupt the legendary Beatle's visit, so she didn't even notify her coworkers that McCartney was a guest in their presence. Britton said McCartney was joined by his wife, Nancy Shevell, and two other couples.

"He came in around 4:30 and had a meal on their way out of town," Britton told the Burlington Free Press. "It was a very relaxed atmosphere and it worked out really well. I didn't even let my staff know at the time he was there. It was a really great experience for him, and he was able to take it all in."

Britton said that as McCartney was getting set to leave, she asked to get her picture taken with him, along with her husband (and store co-owner) Tim. McCartney gladly obliged, and the J.J. Hapgood store account later tweeted out the photo.

J.J. Hapgood General Store & Eatery, which first opened in 1827, was the longest continuously-run general store in Vermont until closing in disrepair in 2009, said Juliette Britton. The Brittons then purchased the store from previous ownership and refurbished it, before reopening it 2013.

Legendary musician Paul McCartney visits the J.J. Hapgood General Store and Eatery in Peru Sunday. He is pictured with owners Tim and Juliette Britton.
(Photo: Courtesy)

Sir Paul McCartney visits Vermont
By Eliza Larson
Feb 24, 2015

PERU, Vt. -
Juliette Britton owns J.J. Hapgood General Store and Eatery in Peru, Vermont. While she was working Sunday, she received a call about a very important person coming in to eat. They wanted to make sure not many people were around.

Sir Paul McCartney, the famous musician and former Beatle, stopped in after a day on the slopes at Bromley. A picture is posted on the J.J. Hapgood's Twitter account. Britton said they waited until Tuesday to release the picture because she feared a paparazzi frenzy.

"It's very exciting," Britton said. "It's an honor and actually when he was here he asked me about the store, the beams; he asked if they were original, that was one of his questions."

McCartney told Britton a celebrity friend said he should stop by to check out the store's diverse menu.

"He ordered a margherita pizza and he ordered a kale salad," Britton said. "I understand he's a vegetarian and he heard we have a lot of vegetarian options, organic kale."

And a side of red sauce too.

J.J. Hapgood first opened 150 years ago and is the longest-running general store in Vermont. It is recognized as a destination after being featured in the 1987 movie "Baby Boom," starring Diane Keaton.

When you walk through the aisles at J.J. Hapgood, you never know what or who you may find. But the cozy, quiet atmosphere is great for everyone, whether you're a local or a celebrity.

"Peru is a really special place," Britton said. "And I think that this place on Earth for whatever reason is charmed and we feel pretty lucky."

Britton tells us her favorite McCartney song is "Jet." She said it was a nickname of hers growing up. And now, as she runs the general store, she hopes more folks jet over to check it out.

Courtesy: J.J. Hapgood

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

miércoles, 25 de febrero de 2015

Paul McCartney has reached the top of the Billboard and iTunes

Paul McCartney Has Top Five Single For The First Time In 31 Years
by RTT Staff Writer

Paul McCartney has reached the top five of the Billboard 100 chart for the first time in 31 years with his Kanye West and Rihanna collaboration "FourFiveSeconds."

The trio has leaped to number four on the Billboard Hot 100 with "FourFiveSeconds" this week, delivering the former Beatle his first Top five single in 31 years.

The time away for Macca sets a new record for longest gap between Top 5 hits, topping the previous record holder, Carlos Santana, who went nearly 29 years between 1971's "Black Magic Woman" and his 1999 collaboration with Rob Thomas, "Smooth."

Sir Paul's last top five hit was "Say Say Say" with Michael Jackson. He also reached the upper chart echelon with the Jackson-assisted "The Girl Is Mine," "Ebony and Ivory" featuring Stevie Wonder and "Coming Up."

by RTT Staff Writer

Paul McCartney Rules iTunes Chart With Rihanna And Kanye West
Daryl Deino
Posted: February 24, 2015

Paul McCartney may be 72-years-old, but he still has clout in the music industry. He plays as a special guest on “FourFiveSeconds” with Rihanna and Kanye West, which is currently at No. 6 on the iTunes chart. Further down, he is at No. 89 singing “Only One” with Kanye West.

Recently, the New York Daily News quoted the BBC’s Radio 1 in denying reports it was boycotting Madonna due to her age and used Paul McCartney as an example to prove accusers wrong.

“The tracks played on Radio 1 are chosen on musical merit and their relevance to our young audience on a case-by-case basis. In fact, Paul McCartney currently has two tracks – ‘FourFiveSeconds’ and ‘Only One’ – on the Radio 1 playlist.”

Paul McCartney recently performed “FourFiveSeconds” with Rihanna and Kanye West at the Grammys. Rolling Stone gave McCarthy and his friends a great review.

"The powerhouse ensemble of Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney dazzled with their pop collaboration ‘FourFiveSeconds’ in a relatively stripped-back performance at the Grammys. The former Beatle passionately strummed the tune’s propulsive riff, as the singer and rapper sang their verses, joining in on the choruses.”

Hollywood Life reports on how Paul McCartney was allegedly responsible for Kanye West’s recent dinner date with Taylor Swift.

“Paul McCartney was the main reason for Kanye and Taylor to get together. After Taylor and Paul performed at the SNL 40th anniversary after party, she talked to him about Kanye and how Kanye wanted to work with her but she felt apprehensive. However, Paul put her mind at ease.”

Paul McCartney has been making hits for five decades. However, according to Billboard, McCartney was absent from the top 40 for 25 years before “Only One” recently hit the top 40.

“The ballad bows at No. 35, bringing McCartney back to the top 40 after a 25-year break. Counting his hits with the Beatles, he extends his top 40 span to more than 50 years. The unlikely pairing (on which McCartney receives billing for playing keyboards, not providing vocals) roars in as the Billboard Hot 100’s top debut at No. 35.”

Some have accused Paul McCartney of using much younger stars to remain relevant, but it’s obvious the former Beatle understands the business. He will introduce Kanye West and Rihanna fans to his music and that will help him fill more stadium dates. In the past, McCartney has worked with other stars such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, though he was closer in age to the two when they scored hits. What is your favorite Paul McCartney song? Tell us in the comments section.

Paul McCartney
[Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images]

martes, 24 de febrero de 2015

Paul McCartney takes top prize at 2015 concert industry awards

Paul McCartney Takes Home Top Prize at 2015 Pollstar Concert Industry Awards
WFJA FM Classic Hits105.5
23 February 2015

Paul McCartney will have to clear yet more space on his mantel.  The former Beatles member received the top honor at the 26th annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards, held Saturday at the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.  McCartney won the Major Tour of the Year prize for the 2014 edition of his Out There World Tour.

This marks the third time Sir Paul has received the award, having previously been presented the honor in 2002 and 1990.  Other winners at this year’s event, which was hosted by comedian Ralphie May, included Katy Perry, who took home Most Creative Stage Production award, and Sam Smith, who received the Best New Touring Artist prize.

The entire event is streaming now on demand at NowLive.com/pollstar.

The Pollstar Concert Industry Awards are chosen by concert promoters, booking agents, managers, and other people in the industry.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio 
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio.

lunes, 23 de febrero de 2015

The Beatles in the News

The Beatles in the News
by beatlesblogger
Posted on February 21, 2015

Stumbled across a blog site that takes an interesting approach to Beatle history.

The Beatles in the News is just that – a site where multiple, random articles from across the decades and from all over the world are aggregated and re-published daily.

There are newspaper and magazine articles, concert reviews, TV news, and advertisements. It’s not only about the Beatles as a group but also as solo artists. Around 500 items from the past are uploaded every month.

One of the posts from January 23 this year caught our attention. It features – in full – a special colour supplement produced by the iconic Australian Women’s Weekly magazine in March, 1964 at the very height of Beatlemania:

australia womans march 18 1964 b

Of course, being a “women’s magazine” from the day meant you had to have a section dedicated to what to cook for that special Beatles party:

australia womans march 18 1964 f

Just love those mop-top muffins with the chocolate hairdo’s! And also how to dress in Beatle fashion:

australia womans march 18 1964 g

Fantastic stuff.

With this site you never know from day-to-day just what gems might pop up.

For anyone interested in the Beatles The Beatles in the News ( thebeatlesinthenews.blogspot.com.au )  is well worth visiting regularly. You never know what you might find.

domingo, 22 de febrero de 2015

Video: Footage of Sigourney Weaver at Beatles Hollywood Bowl concert

Sigourney Weaver Talks New ‘Alien’ Film With Jimmy Fallon (Video)
By Empress Eve
February 20th, 2015

Sigourney Weaver The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon

News broke on Wednesday that Neill Blomkamp will be directing a new Alien movie, a project he teased last month with concept art. After fans of the Alien film franchise responded very favorably to the director’s vision, Blomkamp revealed that Fox would make the film with him, but that he was the actual hold-out for it.

Later that night after the news broke that the District 9 director was officially on board for a new Alien movie, Sigourney Weaver appeared on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon in an episode that was recorded earlier that day. But, knowing the history of the project, host Jimmy Fallon did bring up the subject of a new Alien movie during the interview with the star, who was promoting her new film, Chappie, which was directed by Blomkamp.

Check out the video here below, where Weaver talks about Chappie, as well as a new Alien movie. Also included is another part of the interview where the actress recounts seeing the Beatles when she was 12 years old.

During the interview, Weaver talks about how she mentioned a new Alien movie to Louis C.K., who then told her how he’d want to be in that film.

Though Weaver is not officially signed on for the fifth Alien film (fifth if you don’t count the AvP movies), the actress did feature heavily in Blomkamp’s aforementioned concept art. The filmmaker, who also wrote and directed 2013′s Elysium, had expressed interest in working with Weaver on the new movie, while the Ghostbusters actress mentioned recently that she’d consider reprising the role of Ripley if “someone as talented as Neill” was behind it. At this point, I think it’s just a matter of getting everything down on paper at Fox, because I can’t imagine the Weaver not returning to the franchise she’s best known for, especially after seeing what Blomkamp has in mind and now also how he works.

Louis C.K. Wants to Die in Sigourney Weaver’s Possible Aliens Sequel.
Sigourney Weaver Talks New ‘Alien’ Film With Jimmy Fallon (Video)

Sigourney Weaver Had a Roadside Run-In with The Beatles
Sigourney Weaver talks to Jimmy about shamelessly snapping photos with every celeb at the SNL40 after-party, and Jimmy shows found footage of her attending a Beatles concert at age 12.

Jimmy Fallon Welcomes Guests Sigourney Weaver and Andy Cohen
Added by Douglas Cobb on February 18, 2015

During the Tonight Show After Party, Jimmy Fallon mentioned that Sigourney walked around taking pictures of everybody. He showed a couple of them to the studio audience.

Fallon said “There’s Will Ferrell in this photo.” Sigourney said “Will Ferrell — I knew I had met him.” Sigourney said she saw The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl when she was just 12 years old. She told Jimmy Fallon she was surrounded by all of these women who were screaming and cheering. She said that “I and this other girl were so overwhelmed, we were just wandering home. Then, a limo pulled up, and the Beatles were in it.”

She told Jimmy Fallon that she recently got an email from the Hollywood Bowl and they said they thought they had film of her at the Hollywood Bowl, and sent the footage to her. Fallon played the brief clip, and she was, indeed, in it.

sábado, 21 de febrero de 2015

New Lead Belly documentary traces roots of the Beatles

'No Lead Belly, no Beatles': TV documentary, box set celebrate folk legend's influence
Smithsonian TV documentary, box set celebrate Lead Belly
Feb 19, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. But the folksinging legend, who is being celebrated next week as part of Black History Month by the Smithsonian with a TV documentary and 5-CD box set, left behind a treasure trove of recordings that yielded many hits for those who followed him.

This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Huddie Lead Belly Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. But the folk-singing legend, who is being celebrated as part...
This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly (Associated Press)

Just months after his death, the folk group The Weavers, featuring his close friend Pete Seeger, hit No. 1 on the pop charts with his theme song "Good Night Irene," which he first recorded in 1933 while an inmate at Louisiana's notorious Angola State Prison by father-and-son musicologists John and Alan Lomax.

Among those inspired by Lead Belly was Lonnie Donegan, the founding father of British pop, who had a big hit with his sped-up version of "Rock Island Line." Donegan inspired British teens to form skiffle groups, including 15-year-old John Lennon who founded The Quarrymen in 1956 and later added Paul McCartney and George Harrison to the band.

"George Harrison once said, 'No Lead Belly, no Lonnie Donegan. Therefore no Lead Belly, no Beatles,'" said John Reynolds, author of "Lead Belly: A Life in Pictures."

Reynolds is among the experts, family members and musicians interviewed in the documentary, "Legend of Lead Belly," which premieres Monday at 8 p.m. EST on the Smithsonian Channel.

"It shows the far-reaching influence his music has all over the world," said Reynolds. "There's been nobody that has a repertoire quite like Lead Belly. He really knew about 500 songs and was like a human juke box. ... He's more relevant than ever. Jack White sings his songs, so did Kurt Cobain and some rappers like Wyclef Jean."

The documentary features interviews with musicians inspired by Lead Belly, including Roger McGuinn (The Byrds), Robbie Krieger (The Doors), Judy Collins and Van Morrison, who says the message of Lead Belly's story is "survival ... against all odds."

For Lead Belly, the son of a Louisiana sharecropper, his music was a ticket out of the oppressive racism of the Jim Crow South — including doing hard labor for nearly 10 years in prisons in Texas for murdering a cousin in a fight over a woman and Louisiana for stabbing a white man in a fight — that eventually took him to the political folk music scene in New York with Woody Guthrie and Seeger.

Woody Guthrie with Lead Belly in Chicago, circa 1940. Credit Stephen Deutch/Chicago History Museum, via Getty Images

The documentary is being aired on the eve of Tuesday's release of "Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection," the most comprehensive collection of recordings by the iconic artist. It spans his entire recording career from the Lomaxes' 1933 prison recordings to his last 1948 sessions in the apartment of jazz scholar Fred Ramsey Jr.

The 108 tracks include 16 previously unreleased recordings — including radio programs from 1941 that feature his rarely recorded song intros. Among the discoveries is an original song, "Princess Elizabeth," celebrating the marriage of the future British queen.

Producer Jeff Place hopes the collection enables people to look past the prison story the Lomaxes embellished to market Lead Belly — that he sang his way out of prison with pardon songs to the governors of Texas and Louisiana.

Instead, he wants people to focus on his musical contributions. Lead Belly was a powerful singer and a skilled guitarist. He picked up the rarely used 12-string Stella guitar because it was loud enough to be heard in noisy bars, his style influencing Seeger, McGuinn, Bonnie Raitt and Ry Cooder.

Place says Lead Belly was a "songster." He played blues, spirituals, work and prison songs reflecting his life experience in the South. But his recordings also include cowboy songs, children's rhymes, old British ballads, and topical songs he wrote about the Hindenburg and Titanic disasters.

Rather than being the "discovery" of folklorists, Lead Belly was a folklorist in his own right, said Place, senior archivist and curator of the Smithsonian folklife collections.

"He spent his whole life collecting an amazing assortment of songs in his travels, recording some of them so we have them now ... He was like a human tape-recorder."

viernes, 20 de febrero de 2015

Paul McCartney says making music was easier in the past

Sir Paul McCartney: Making music was easier in the past
TV3, Ireland
Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Sir Paul McCartney thinks it was ''easier'' to make music in the past.
The Beatles star has been in the music industry since 1957 and has seen changes in technology affect how he produces his hit tracks, encouraging him to brand modern music production ''luxurious''.
He said: ''The process of making the music, I do [go] on sometimes to young bands, younger people I'm working with, and say it was kind of easier [before].
''Everyone who made records used this routine. 10.30, be ready to go. 1.30, we expect you to have finished two songs, mixed, taped, done. You go home at the end of the day and you would have accomplished four songs. And I look back at them now, and it's 'Michelle', it's 'Nowhere Man', it's 'Yesterday'. It's songs that have lasted.
''I really advise kids now: 'You have to write the song before you go in.' Sounds obvious but people don't do this so much these days. They go in and say, 'That was a good bit. Get that on the ProTools'.
''It's just a new way of working, which is much more luxurious, but I don't think it's productive.''
Sir Paul McCartney - whose recent collaborators include Kanye West and Rihanna - also admits that he is less bothered by the way music is delivered but disagrees with streaming because it means the songwriter is paid much smaller amounts.
He said: ''The actual technology of how you deliver music doesn't matter to me because we've been through vinyl, tapes, cassettes, CDs, downloads, streaming.''
When asked why he removed some of his music from the streaming sites like Spotify in the past, he added to BBC News' Click: ''I feel sorry for the young composer whose written what may be his only hit, and it's huge and he doesn't get paid for it. I don't think that's right.''

Sir Paul McCartney: Making music was easier in the past

Sir Paul McCartney on music production
BBC Click
13 February 2015

The process of making music was "easier" in the past Sir Paul McCartney has told BBC Click's Spencer Kelly.

Big Beatles' hits like Michelle and Yesterday could be recorded, mixed, taped and done in one day, he said.
But new ways of working meant that a song no longer needed to be written before a musician went into a recording studio to put a track together.
Sir Paul said he advised young musicians to write their songs first: "It sounds obvious but people don't do that so much these days."

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LISTEN : Yoko Ono Duets With Antony Hegarty for Her 82nd Birthday

Yoko Ono Duets With Antony Hegarty for Her 82nd Birthday: Listen
By Philip Cosores
February 18, 2015

Paul McCartney‘s recent work with Kanye West has The Beatles back in the pop music conversation, but another one of the band’s closest associates has never really had much interest in the traditional pop realm.

Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon, has spent the better part of her 82 years exploring the artistic side of contemporary music and humanitarian causes, and her birthday gift to the world is no different.

(Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
(Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

For her 82nd birthday (which is today, Feb. 18), Ono has released a new duet of her 1985 song, “I Love You Earth,” with Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons. The song exemplifies her penchant not to make things about her and instead use the opportunity as service. The song pays homage to our planet, and proceeds from the single will go to the Rain Forest Trust.

The song is one of two new 10-inch vinyl singles from Ono. The other is “Blink” , a duet with John Zorn.

jueves, 19 de febrero de 2015

Looking at negative fan reaction to Paul McCartney collaborations

Kanye-Rihanna-Gaga: What’s at the root of negative fan reaction?
Al Sussman
Posted on February 15, 2015

Did you think some of the negative fan reaction to Paul McCartney working with Kanye West and Rihanna and even Lady Gaga was a bit over-the-top? Why do you think that was? Al Sussman addresses that question in this thought-provoking new article exclusive to SOMETHING NEW …

The cover of the single, "FourFive Seconds."
The cover of the single, “FourFive Seconds.”

I’m writing this on the morning after the Grammy Awards telecast, amid all of the post-show analysis of around-two-dozen musical numbers in the show. Among those performances announced in advance was a live debut of “FourFiveSeconds,” a Top 10 collaboration between the R&B/pop star Rihanna and hip-hop headline-maker/celebrity husband Kanye West, with accompaniment from one Paul McCartney. It became the most successful “single” carrying the name Paul McCartney since his last Top 10 single, “Spies Like Us,” in 1986.

That followed the recent release of a McCartney-West collaboration, “Only One,” a Top 40 hit.

And, just a few days before his Grammy appearance, Lady Gaga announced that she is also involved with a studio project of McCartney’s.

Macca and Lady Gaga.
Macca and Lady Gaga.

One would think that all of this involvement with 21st century pop luminaries would produce a good deal of excitement among Paul’s fandom. But, at least on social media, it’s been quite the opposite.

On two recent episodes of “Things We Said Today,” the Beatles news-history discussion podcast, my fellow panelists and I ruminated about this strange reaction. The Grammy show and post-show reaction is going to produce more discussion between us.

To put it succinctly, elements of McCartney’s core fandom, at least those who use social media, have reacted to these collaborations — especially in the case of Kanye and Rhianna — as if Paul’s going to catch hip-hop cooties from working with them. The response hasn’t all been negative, and the social media critics may not be reflective of the feelings of McCartney fandom overall, but a vocal cross-section is quite unhappy with his decision to work outside of his musical milieu.

Some of this, of course, is generational. Much of McCartney’s fandom is made up of people who, on average, are now older than our parents were 51 years ago this week as they scowled and tut-tutted while we watched The Beatles’ live American debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” These fans are taking on the same sort of narrow viewpoint.

From the video for "FourFive Seconds."
From the video for “FourFive Seconds.”

They don’t listen to any current pop music and many take the attitude that “today’s music sucks” without having heard any of it. All they know about Kanye or Rhianna or Gaga is the negative media coverage they get — in Kanye’s case, much of it self-inflicted (see his post-Grammy show comments about Beck winning Album of the Year) — so they’re not going to look favorably on McCartney working with acts they perceive to be inferior to him.

However, there’s also more than a bit of musical racism going on here. That sizable older portion of McCartney’s core audience had no problem with Paul working with black pop stars Stevie Wonder and the pre-Wacko Jacko Michael Jackson in the early ‘80s. But they do seem to have a problem with him venturing into the world of hip-hop.

Many social media commenters have refused to listen to “Only One” for no other reason than it’s a Kanye West recording. Again, he’s a lightning rod, due to his celebrity and self-aggrandizing public persona, but some also have refused to listen to “FourFiveSeconds,” despite the fact that Rihanna has more natural talent than West and the song is more immediately accessible. Indeed, the general reaction to the Grammy performance of “FourFiveSeconds” had very little to do with the song itself, but instead dealt mainly with whether McCartney’s mic was on, since no one seemed to able to hear him in the mix.

But there were also comments about McCartney lowering his standards to be onstage with these “hip-hop no talents.”

Macca onstage at the Grammys with Rihanna and Kanye West.
Macca onstage at the Grammys with Rihanna and Kanye West.

And, make no mistake, this racism is not limited to music. The same types who make vile comments about the mixed-race president of the United States aim similar comments at celebrity hip-hoppers like Kanye and Rihanna.

But most of the disapproval appears to be stylistic, rather than race-based, with the target being hip-hop. Many in that older portion of McCartney’s core constituency are not fans of alternative rock bands like Foo Fighters and even fewer were fans of Nirvana in the ‘90s salad days of grunge. Yet, I’ve heard very few, if any, fans complain about McCartney’s work over the past couple of years with Dave Grohl, including the 2012 semi-reunion of Nirvana. It’s been suggested that Grohl has the persona of a classic rocker and that may account for the easy acceptance of him as a collaborator with McCartney. Also, the harder-to-musically-categorize Lady Gaga has yet to receive much in the way of scorn for her announcement that she’s working with Paul since the never-satisfied segment of Beatles fandom has been too busy obsessing over Paul’s foray into what they perceive as hip-hop land.

Anyone familiar with the entirety of McCartney’s career knows that he’s prone to exploring various musical forms, and while neither “Only One” nor “FourFiveSeconds” falls in the realm of true hip-hop, it remains to be seen what will come out of his ongoing collaboration with West.

But, given the morning-after slagging Kanye took in the wake of his Grammy night, McCartney fandom isn’t likely to be much more receptive to him in the future.

The never-satisfieds are likely to have plenty pf grist for the mill in the coming weeks.

— Al Sussman

George Harrison tree to be replanted in Los Angeles

George Harrison tree to be replanted in Los Angeles
Trina Yannicos
Anaheim Pop Culture Examiner
February 17, 2015

George Harrison tree plaque in Griffith Park
George Harrison tree plaque in Griffith Park
Trina Yannicos

The tree in Griffith Park dedicated to George Harrison will be replanted on the former Beatle's birthday of February 25, according to DJ Chris Carter of Los Angeles radio station 95.5 KLOS. On Sunday, February 15, Carter announced that the tree would be replanted during his weekly radio show called "Breakfast With The Beatles."

The Cayman Island Pine that was planted in tribute to the ex-Beatle in 2003 up in the hills of Griffith Park in Los Angeles made headlines last year when it was reported that the tree had died. In June 2014, the tree had to be cut down due to infestation by none other than beetles.

L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge said in July that the tree would be replanted "when the weather cools off." There's no better time than the anniversary of Harrison's birth for the replanting to take place. Just a few miles away from the tree will be a special gathering to celebrate Harrison's birthday at his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

At the 2004 tree dedication ceremony, friends and associates gathered to pay tribute to Harrison including singer Billy Preston, singer Jackie Lomax, Councilman Tom LaBonge, deejay Chris Carter and Linda Arias, Olivia Harrison's sister, who read a message sent by Olivia thanking everyone for remembering her husband George.

The bronze plaque placed in front of the George Harrison Tree features a lotus flower and reads: "In memory of a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist, a musician and a gardener," followed by a quote from George Harrison: 'For the forest to be green, each tree must be green.' George Harrison (1943-2001)

The George Harrison tree in LA's Griffith Park is behind family and friends including Harrison's widow, Olivia (center, in black), Eric Idle of Monty Python fame near her, and Jeff Lynne (far right) of ELO and Harrison's band The Travelling Wilburys. The tree was killed by an infestation of beetles.
Harrison's widow, Olivia (center, in black), Eric Idle of Monty Python fame near her, and Jeff Lynne (far right) of ELO and Harrison's band The Travelling Wilburys

Fans hope Paul McCartney will headline 2015 Firefly music festival

Firefly drops 2015 festival lineup – with one notable exception
By Karl Malgiero
February 17, 2015

The official 2015 Firefly Festival lineup poster was made public Tuesday afternoon, although the very first headliner’s name has been blurred out, leaving that slot open to speculation. 

The official 2015 Firefly Festival lineup poster

The general consensus among fanatics is that name is none other than former Beatle Paul McCartney, whose name was leaked last month along with a veritable facsimile of the remaining lineup by Twitter account EDMSecrets. 

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Firefly and parent company Red Frog events declined to comment on that leak, but that they had hoped to release the lineup and were delayed by last-minute approvals.

They remained active on Facebook and Twitter in the meantime, holding daily ticket giveaway contests while some fans were beginning to show varying levels of patience over the delay.

And late Tuesday night, a listing of artists appeared on the official Firefly app and was immediately taken down, but not before screenshots were spread widely by social media. Those screenshots include one showing McCartney as part of the line-up.

Still, big names like returning acts The Killers, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse and Foster the People will join Morrissey, Snoop Dogg, Hozier and more than 100 indie, pop, rock, electronic and hip hop performers as more than 80,000 fans are expected to descend on the Woodlands at Dover International Speedway the weekend of June 18th.

As in previous years – Delaware will also be represented in the lineup as Newark indie rock band Fiancé joins the field.

In a statement Firefly officials said they are looking forward to revealing the third headliner, and tickets will go on sale at a later date.

Firefly drops 2015 festival lineup – with one notable exception